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Roleplay / Airlocked Round Five

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"Let us one and all write a story's ending that we'll at least have earned, rather than walk the hollow and empty paths written out for us."
-Ardyn

Tropes from round five of Airlocked. Please note that the ending twist to Round One is treated as a Late-Arrival Spoiler on this page, as the remainder of the series cannot be discussed without it. For this round, the same applies to who survived rounds 1-3, as the concept of Round 5 means that they all return.


  • Accidental Adultery: Clarith accepts Touko's Love Confession, despite being listed as married on her profile, as she does not remember being married to Arianna and does not believe anyone would willingly marry her. Understandably, this causes issues when Arianna remembers her First Kiss with Clarith and figures it out. Similarly, Nari and Pyrrha confess to each other as they do not remember their own girlfriends and Soma develops a crush on Heart after forgetting Fukawa.
  • Achilles in His Tent: Choromatsu and Junpei both do this after the first memory regain, though they manage to come out in time for the motive.
  • Acronym Confusion: When the Champions first learn about E.P., they start coming up with ideas for what it might stand for. Nari picks the popular explanation ("Executive Producer"), Arianna thinks it stands for "episode", and Church just goes with "Everybody Poops".
  • Alien Lunch: While all of it is technically edible, some of the food in the food court (particularly the bugs in Sur'Kesh Express) would be incredibly unappetizing to most modern-era humans.
  • All Elections Are Serious Business: Parodied in deadland. When the dead descend into anarchy with the threat of the void looming and Blaze Dudely haunting them, they end up deciding to hold an election for leader despite their little society having no real need for one, nor anything the candidates could actually accomplish in their campaign promises. Some of the characters take it much more seriously than it should be, even if it is tongue-in-cheek for most of them.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: The final player location, Bowie Spaceport, has concourses in the added floors representing each of the previous rounds, with two rooms their settings were known for and gates with the names, titles, photos, and belongings of each Champion and Overseer from that round. It's also modelled after the Round 4 intermission's Presley Spaceport and the VR is similar to the mall visited after both Round 2 and 3 intermissions.
  • Almost Dead Guy: The fourth victim is found just after the bomb goes off, still clinging to life, but dies as the other Champions are trying to administer medical attention.
  • Amnesiac Lover: Laser-Guided Amnesia means this applies to everyone with a love interest in Airlocked, but particularly the handful of couples that made it into the final round together.
  • Androids Are People, Too: A key theme of the round, set up by all the previous rounds but especially Round 4 and the Round 2 intermission. InterGal 7 views robots and AI as just property, much like they view people they kidnapped from alternate worlds, and the Champions befriend both simple and complicated AI and forge alliances that will help both groups against the network.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Wilhelmina's memories are stored on video and provide exposition in the final investigation.
  • Arc Words: "Memory is the key." Church, who would of course recognize the phrase, starts to comment on it.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Xander hits Yuuri with one at the first motive, when she accuses him of lying to her about her sister's death.
    Xander: Yuuri... are you completely sure that I am the one that's lying?
  • Ascended Meme: "Knifeglaive," the Fan Nickname for Ardyn, Church, Junpei and Yuuri, finally gets used in-game when the group is deciphering the Ouija board messages.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Apparently what happened to both Elvis Presley and David Bowie after their deaths. They've come back by the time of Airlocked and currently perform in the Vegas Quadrant.
  • Back for the Finale: Round 5 is set to be composed of returning survivors, most of whom will inevitably die over the course of the round. As well, there are a lot of NPCs cycling through the cast because most of them are returning characters. Did we say most of the NPCs? We meant all.
  • Back from the Dead: When P.A.L. forgets to nerf everyone again after they wake up, Jane revives Xander when they find his body. P.A.L. hits her with the nerf bat right after so she can't do it again. Also, in the very last log, the golden end guests include dead loved ones, resurrected with the technology the network used to bring many of the Champions back.
  • Badass Boast: The Champions often throw these at Xander on motive day to try and defy his threats or rally the others not to give in.
    The Doctor: If you touch her, there is not a thing in this or any universe that will be able to save you.
    • In the final trial, we get some from almost the entire cast thanks to the messages from deadland.
  • Becoming the Mask: At the final trial, Ardyn rejects this idea, saying, "Sentiment born of a lie is little more than empty platitudes."
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Prompto and Lucina, who are usually shy about PDA, come on the deadland broadcast in the final trial and kiss in front of everyone.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: On Junpei's birthday, confirmed by his PIP changing his age, Church and Nari are badly injured and the entire mall is sent into a frenzy after their attempt to break down a barricade. Fukawa's birthday a few days later starts off with her blaming herself for letting Togami die. She says that her birthday is "the most cursed day of all." Then, Chloe's birthday is the day of the motive that threatens deadland.
  • Blackmail: The first motive is a threat to reveal each Champion's darkest secret to each other and their homeworlds. Xander is also being blackmailed into working for the network, with the promise of reviving his dead sister, Elise.
  • Bland-Name Product: Many of the stores in the mall are off-brand versions of real retail chains. This is almost immediately undercut by most of the characters going out of their way to identify the actual brands and referring to them as such. Played with in the case of Starbucks — despite it being the real deal to players and characters, this is a in-universe Bland Name Product for the previously established "Spacebucks".
  • Book-Ends: Both with the prequel (the in-universe first season) and the actual first round.
    • In both R4 and R5, the first victim comes from School-Live!. As well, Choromatsu sees all his brothers as hostages instead of just one; the same went for Osomatsu and Karamatsu.
    • In both R1 and R5, the Etrian Odyssey character gets Survivor Guilt from last seeing the first culprit preparing for the confrontation that led to the murder they committed and thinking nothing of it at the time, and her older sister figure is the victim in week two (although which case that corresponds to differs between the two rounds), and her significant other is killed in week five (with the same caveat).
    • Though the details are different, the very first victim in R1 and the very last victim in R5 are killed the same general way.
  • Boy Meets Ghoul: In deadland, Oda and Zombina get together during Parlor Games.
  • Breaking Old Trends: Instead of a Good Cop/Bad Cop pair of Overseers, Xander plays both roles himself, being a strict Overseer who wants the game seen through for his own reasons yet still having his Hidden Depths leak out with the odd show of kindness. As well, just like in Round 4, "protected by a Roomba" and "a Lucian king or in the service of one" are no longer favored traits of the RNG, nor is "survived a previous Deadly Game" because everyone has.
    • While past rounds took place wholly either in a simulation, or in real life, this round puts the survivors through both.
  • Brick Joke: Four rounds later, we finally get cookie cutters in the prize machine.
    • In the first half of the Round 4 intermission, Nari says she'd start a crowdfunding page just to see a bear in the body of a Roomba. In the very final log, for lack of any other mechanical bodies that aren't damaged or taken, the tech team ports Bear-san, Mai and Lee's pet bear from the deadland simulation, into Son of Ruri.
  • Broken Win/Loss Streak: After surviving a ridiculous amount of deadly games, including a previous round of his current ordeal, Togami finally bites the dust in Week 4.
  • Callback: Ardyn makes one to the second culprit after remembering 2-1.
    Ardyn in 2-1: This is not your fault. And even should the whole world hate and curse you merely for existing and doing what was right, I will accept you. And even should you hate and curse yourself in turn, I forgive all that which you cannot.
    Ardyn in 5-2: This is not your fault. And even should the whole world hate and curse you merely for existing, I will accept you.
    • Yurika similarly calls back to her reply to the 1-1 culprit in 5-4, which also had the culprit trying to undo something that's destroyed untold lives.
    1-1: ...I can't say I wouldn't have tried to undo everything. Maybe it's even the right thing to do. But Eru-chan didn't do anything to you, and the rest of us need to keep on going.
    5-4: I tried the same thing once, Doctor. Maybe it was the right thing, but the people I love told me there was another way, and there was, even if it didn't just undo everything. But now we have a road to take that won't need to get everyone killed first.
  • Canon Character All Along: Every single new NPC is an old one in disguise. This is also retroactively applied to Cece and Rox, and Simone, the one "new" NPC we thought we knew was a returning character, is actually a different returning character.
  • Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: Church says this about his friends in Blue Team, also applying to the rest of the Champions. It's also Choromatsu's relationship with his brothers, as he explains during his breakdown in case 5.
  • Cartwright Curse: Fukawa loses not only two love interests and one one-sided crush as the game goes on, but a number of people she'd grown close to and begun to consider family — to the point of starting to wonder if there's any point in letting herself continue to care for people at all.
  • Celebrity Paradox: As per usual for Airlocked. Bolton's resemblance to his PB is brought up again, this time by Nari. The Doctor also references the Harry Potter series once and it's brought up in-game that his actor was in the films.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Remember in round one when the holodeck got stuck on the deadland setting throughout week six? We finally get an explanation for that and it ties into the round five plot. Deadland is run on the same server as the simulations used during R1, R4, and the first half of R5, and it's possible to communicate between the two. What's more, you can also glitch between them...
    • In Round 2, Cece Diver was initially suspicious for sharing a name with C.E.C.E., and it was quickly dismissed as a subversion of One Steve Limit. At the very end of Round 5, we learn that Nina named both the mindwiped AI and her own alter ego, just because she thought the name was cute.
  • Chekhov's Gag: The Round 2 cast starts to remember the superhero-themed nicknames they gave each other early on, and as in R2, it's used for a few jokes. Then Junpei's death references The Night Gwen Stacy Died.
    • One for deadland: it's established in the first half of the round that you can summon a Flavour ghost with burned food. The Starbucks perpetually burns in memory of all those who died in it as well as as a nod to Bolton, who once committed arson against a Starbucks to protect the independent coffee shop he worked at. In the last weeks of the game, the food burned to a crisp in the Starbucks summons the ghost of Blaze Dudely to save the dead from becoming deader.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Junpei says this kind of story is "pretty strong." On the surface, this is about Church (correctly) identifying Yurika as a single-minded Clingy Jealous Girl, even if she did eventually win her childhood friend's heart, but it quickly comes out that Junpei also means his ill-fated time with Akane.
  • Chocolate of Romance: There's a candy shop and a Valentine's Day Episode, of course. The characters give one another chocolate on Valentine's and Genocider sculpts a life-size Togami out of chocolate, which he grudgingly accepts because it's good chocolate.
  • Climax Boss: Subverted. Rox shows up at the right time and she's been well-established as The Dragon, but the Champions don't actually get to face her in a trial at that point, and it's uncertain for a while whether that was even actually her.
  • Commonality Connection: Church and S.I.S. start to see each other as siblings due to both being AIs and knowing what it's like to be treated as Just a Machine.
  • Companion Cube: Roombas continue to play this role. When Nari names one and Xander destroys it, most of the Champions cover his door in protest letters. Later, Xander himself ends up adopting a roomba he names Tiki and treats her with much affection.
  • Connected All Along: While most of the cast have their suspicions pre-reveal, their memory regains confirm without a doubt that the groups were previously involved in another game together.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: The openings of Bowie Spaceport's concourses are these, since the locations are stuffed with references to the four previous rounds.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The network, as usual. But this round makes it seem they thought ahead far enough to convert the spaceport carrying the survivors so it may be used to run a killing game in the event that the simulation failed.
  • Cruel Mercy: Rather than kill Nina, the Champions hand her over to the authorities and take apart the legacy she worked tirelessly to build.
  • Culture Police: Nina's planet was a Dystopia that prescribed roles to people and banned creativity. They disappeared Nina's mother when she told her daughter she was better than her role and smuggled her entertainment, and they put Nina herself through multiple rounds of brainwashing attempts to stem her rebellion before just exiling her. This is also why she just made an Immoral Reality Show — with a background like that, she couldn't just make it actual fiction.
  • Deader Than Dead: The week 6 motive involves threatening to shut down the VR housing the dead, which would end their lives permanently once and for all.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Jane and Arianna call Fourtinbras with a Ouija board and he facilitates communication with deadland at one point. Scraggly also continues to haunt Pyrrha, and after Ardyn's death, something lets the whole Knifeglaive communicate with one another using a modified TV.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: In the final trial, Nari's attempts to explain things she did in the previous trial and case keep making Church (understandably) even more ticked off with her instead.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Ardyn, of all people, finds himself remarkably distracted by the sight of a shirtless Heart. Heart, for his part, seems to have no idea what the issue is.
  • Dolled-Up Installment: Round 3 is revealed to have been this in-universe, finally explaining why it had such a different beginning and why it was revealed early on to have been filmed concurrently with Round 2. The mastermind's Motive Rant exposits that the season really was an unrelated experiment with the nanites, PIPs, and cross-universe kidnappings, but Blaze being Not Quite Dead and on the hunt for revenge meant that the best way Nina could get rid of him was to make him think she was at Starfield and trick him into becoming an Overseer in the new season of Airlocked!, where he would hopefully get himself killed.
  • Doomed Protagonist: The entire concept is "survivors of previous murdergames coming back to die in another."
  • Dramatic Irony: Baked into the premise of the round. Notable examples, however, are the case of Choromatsu's brothers being his hostage in the hostage motive. We, of course, know that they've already taken two.
    • Also, the identity of the "Champion Mystery," whom we know to be Xander.
  • Dramatic Unmask: When Wizard contacts deadland for the last time and Yuuri asks who he might be, he removes his hardlight projector in a multi-part tag to reveal Yl'lb Ein.
  • Driven to Suicide: Along with Choromatsu, listed under Murder Tropes, Price also tells Church that the Director killed himself.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Ardyn and Xander both do it in Week 5 at the cast-wide Despair Event Horizon. It's what makes it easy for the Doctor to frame Ardyn.
  • Due to the Dead: This round has a memorial wall with symbolic decorative blankets. Clarith takes a lot of care in maintaining it and Togami calls it pointless. Yurika also takes the dolls that represent the dead out of the diorama she made in Hailing Frequency (and later moved to Starbucks when it took up the entire counter) and moves them to the side with an angel doll. Both memorials are replaced in the second half with a room gathering the deceased's belongings (made by the Champions) and multiple large rooms with stations for each member, alive or dead, of a previous round (provided by their captors).
  • Dying Alone: Discussed when Clarith remembers Michaela's second death. Choromatsu also mentions that it's his greatest fear, even if he doesn't know why or remember that those were Osomatsu's Famous Last Words. When Church confronts Price about his past, he learns that this also happened to the Director.
  • Elvis Has Left the Planet: As S.I.S. cheerfully explains, he did really die in 1977, but ascended and is now some manner of immortal being still living on in space in 6973.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: This is what Nina wants her show to have, with everyone giving up and living in deadland forever while she gets away with her crimes. The survivors have other ideas.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The possibility of bringing back his dead wife is so strong for Dracula that he possesses Soma to commit murder. He's still the baddest vampire of all and directly threatens our heroes when he takes over after his host's death.
  • Everyone Can See It: Ardyn and Church have UST aplenty plus hints in their profiles that they were in love before, but it takes Togami saying it to get either of them to consider it for a moment (and even then, they scoff at it). Togami. The guy who doesn't care about anyone's social life.
  • Everyone Is Gay: Discussed, even if it's exaggerated.
    Junpei: Are there any ladies among us who aren't adorable lesbians? Are we... are we space's lesbian singularity?
    Church: ...I think some of them are bi.
  • Exact Words: Junpei's secret during the first motive is that he'd kill any number of people for 'the woman he loves'. Before the first trial, he believes this refers to Akane. After beginning to regain his R2 memories, he realizes it refers to Yuuri.
    • Later, during the Ouija board communication, the Champions think they've gotten a "no" to "Are we in a simulation?" It was actually to "Do you know whether or not we're in a simulation?"
    • Jamie/Tobias never said his companion C.E.C.E. was dead after the Week of Terror. He just said she was gone.
    • When Church protests that he's not a dad, Touko starts calling him Mom. It actually sticks.
  • Eye Scream: Used on a robot, but P.A.L. 7.0 still seriously messes Mina up when he throws Touko's scissors and hits Mina in the electronic eye.
  • Face Doodling: When Church is dragged sleeping to their mindless party, the patrol robots draw dicks on him. In the ending log, Max Olguin gets to finally take a bit of revenge for Bolton and draws a Monster Clown on an unconscious Xander's face.
  • Fast Forward to Reunion: There's a Time Skip of about a week between the final trial and the Golden Ending log, in which characters were reunited with friends and family from home.
  • Fighting from the Inside: During the sixth trial, PAL 6.9 is fighting to get out messages in binary and attempt to reprogram himself while P.A.L. 7.0 tries to hold onto control.
  • Fighting Your Friend: One team in the final investigation is forced to fight the Brainwashed and Crazy PAL, despite not wanting to.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The three groups of Champions from the three rounds remember becoming this, and slowly, the same thing happens to unite all three groups.
  • First-Name Basis: Xander usually avoids calling the Champions by name, but he does it in emotionally intense moments as well as for dead Champions and those about to be executed. Ardyn also struggles with this and goes back to calling Church "Leonard" in particularly emotional moments.
  • Flipping the Bird: At the announcement at the beginning of the second week, Church spends the entire time silently flipping Xander off rather than actually contribute to the discussion. Much later, Jane flips off the mastermind in defence of Xander.
  • Forgotten Friend, New Foe: Of a sort. Xander is a familiar face, but the specifics of the Laser-Guided Amnesia inflicted on everyone mean that no one realizes he used to be one of them.
  • Four Is Death: Nobody wants to take room number 4 when the Champions wake up in the real world, so it's used as a memorial place for the dead.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Touko gives Clarith a Love Confession after knowing her for a week.
  • Frame-Up: The Doctor frames Ardyn in the fourth case, which seriously messes him up, but the Champions quickly figure out that he's innocent.
  • Friendly Enemy: Noctis and Ardyn settle into this, since both are from the end of the game and Ardyn's Hate Plague is gone. Xander is also usually this to the Champions, even as he tries not to get attached.
  • Gesundheit: A Running Gag has Church say this whenever the gacha machine is called by its proper name (as opposed to what he calls it, "gumball machine").
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Late in the game, when Arianna's Trauma Conga Line leads her to break down in the R2 concourse, Touko slaps her and tells her to snap out of it. This marks a turning point as they'd been avoiding one another due to both grieving the same dead girlfriend (wife, in Arianna's case) and thinking she'd have been better off with the other.
  • Gilded Cage: Deadland's final form, essentially. Max Caulfield calls it just that to E.P.'s face.
  • Greasy Spoon: Like the first round, this one's got a 24-hour diner, called "Fourt's" after round three's late NPC cook.
  • Great Escape: Xander teleports Nari to the cell Tolresch is being held in and she breaks her out.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In the final investigation fight, P.A.L. 7.0 throws Church at Mina.
  • Groin Attack: Jane threatens to do this to Price should he do anything to Xander.
  • Grounded Forever: Ardyn jokes that he'll have to ground Junpei for life once all of this is over after he finally remembers really being his father.
  • Hair Color Dissonance: One investigation acknowledges Pyrrha and Ardyn as redheads but not Nari (as her hair is ginger, as opposed to being literally red). As well, Ardyn and Yuuri's shared hair colour looks red, brown, or purple depending on the lighting, and Junpei's brown hair is a dark and extremely desaturated purple in his Zero Time Dilemma icons.
  • Headbutting Heroes: Church and Xander are this after Xander's Heel–Face Turn, with Church still resentful of him. They start to patch things up after Church's attempt to murder Xander instead has them crash head-first into a major discovery, and by the end, Church acknowledges Xander as the leader of the survivor pool.
  • Head Pet: When Max finds and frees Luscinia, the bird takes up residence on her head.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Discussed. Junpei tells Church that it would be stupid to die in a way that didn't further the cause of getting the others out.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Elaine and Choromatsu both address E.P. and tell her that she's become just as bad as her enemies, the former ending with an Armor-Piercing Question over whether she made her Missing Mom proud.
    "You are doing to us what was done to you, Nina."
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: The last player trial's case runs on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Symbolism ensues, of course.
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: When Rox knocks out Church, Ardyn orders him to survive while trying to heal whatever ailed him.
  • Humans Are Survivors: Scraggly tells Pyrrha this when he tells the story of Flavourtown.
  • I Choose to Stay: Many of the reunited friends and families in the Golden Ending decide to stay together rather than return to their own worlds.
  • Iconic Item: Those of the dead are placed at their individual gates as a mocking memorial by the network.
  • I Have Your Wife: Combined with "and if she's dead, I'll bring her back" in the second motive. The week 6 motives also has shades of this, as it threatens the Champions' dead friends.
  • I'll Take That as a Compliment: Touko says this to sass P.A.L. 7.0 during her fight with him when he insultingly compares her to Kip.
  • Implied Death Threat: Xander says that there will be consequences if a culprit comes forward to confess without letting the others figure out what happened in a trial. Since they'd get executed anyway, it's taken as a threat to the Champions they'd be trying to save.
  • Innocent Innuendo: At one point, Xander uses a pole as a weapon. All the narration starts talking about his "enormous rod."
  • In the Future, We Still Have Roombas: Still as true as ever, but this time, there's an entire store that only sells Roombas.
  • Irony: Every kiosk is used as a sleeping area for two people, except for "Bed Buddies," which has only a single occupant.
    • The In-Universe fandom theorized that Arianna was originally meant to die early on in her season, in part because she doesn't play the same role as the other royal survivors. She's the only royal character who never dies.
  • It Gets Easier: Parodied in Arianna's description text. What she's actually "killing" turns out to just be candy chocobos.
  • It's All My Fault: Arianna struggles with blaming herself for everything that goes wrong and/or worse than it did in Round 2. In the endgame plot, C.E.C.E. reveals that she feels responsible for Jamie's capture because he was caught while trying to get her memories back. Arianna tells her it's not her fault.
  • It's Personal: Church's stated reason for wanting to help C.E.C.E. find her memories and choose whether or not she wants to go back to who she was.
  • I Was Just Passing Through: When Xander runs to try and stop Clarith from killing herself, he excuses it by saying that he just wanted to prevent any deaths that were outside of the program's general way of doing things (i.e. not murder). This just makes things worse, and his attempt to rectify it doesn't work either.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Arianna and Fukawa both try to back off of Clarith for the other's sake despite wishing she'd choose them. Clarith offers a third option. In the end, Apollo does break it off with Pyrrha so she can be with Nari.
  • Jailbait Wait: A joke is made calling back to the offhand comment that Kip's waiting for a kiss from Jane when she turns eighteen. He gets one.
  • Just Following Orders: Price gives this justification for giving Xander a lethal injection.
  • Karma Houdini: Church believes that the Director is this for killing himself rather than face justice for his crimes.
  • Kick the Dog: Nari, the culprit, does an impressive amount of this in the seventh trial, deliberately choosing a victim who would trust her and waiting until he was vulnerable, turning into a dead loved one to get the upper hand, framing Church, saying she doesn't care about Cece, to whom she was very devoted pre-R5, anymore knowing full well the subject of this conversation might hear, forcing her way to putting in Jane's vote as she kicks and screams in protest, and telling everyone that her motive was selfish and any good results were unintended side effects. When most give her some measure of forgiveness anyway, Nari is in shock.
  • Killed Offscreen: Aside from all the victims being this by necessity (though some had murder logs in museboxes unlocked later), word of the mun says that Jack was killed by the void consuming deadland.
  • Kill the God: When Wizard appears in the Good Place and some of the dead ask if he's God, Akira's first instinct is to raise his weapon.
  • Knighting: Parodied. When Max wins the election to remain king of the dead, he declares that he'll knight everyone who voted for him.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Even more specific than in previous rounds, since even when the Champions start getting their memories back, Xander's identity is censored from Round 1 memories until he's demoted to Champion and the true nature of the Champion Excellence Program is censored from Round 2 memories. For the Week 7 motive, characters lose the memories of their friends all over again.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Simone has a great appreciation for food, and she's secretly E.P., so the Flavour ghosts punish her by making her food all taste like or turn into sand.
  • Life Isn't Fair: Seems to be Xander's attitude.
    "Life is a series of annoyances and then you die."
  • Little "No": Heart when the second motive gives him a Heroic B.S.O.D..
  • Loophole Abuse: Xander, blushing as Church is stripping in the courtroom, says, "...I mean, there's no rule stating all Champions must be dressed."
    • During the prank war meant to distract Xander, Junpei reasons that they can't be punished for violence against the Overseer so long as all they hurt is his feelings.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Nina intends for the final form of deadland to be this, a perfect heaven to trap the Champions in. She sees this as atonement for her crimes, but they call her out on her short-sighted and selfish sense of morality.
  • Love at First Sight: Choromatsu goes gaga over S.I.S. the second he sees her. Then again, it is Choromatsu.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Laser-Guided Amnesia turns Clarith, Touko, Arianna and Soma's relationships with each other into a bit of a mess indeed, involving multiple other Champions.
  • Make the Dog Testify: In the final trial, Arianna uses her choker to get a testimony from Luscinia.
  • Malicious Misnaming: The Champions' main method of backlash against Xander is referring to him by insulting, ironic or just plain incorrect variants of his name.
  • The Mall: The setting for the round is a shopping mall, with enclosed kiosks repurposed as "bedrooms." For the first half, anyway...
  • Meaningful Name: Bowie Spaceport, fitting the Named After Somebody Famous Theme Naming started by Presley Spaceport and referencing the series' space theme.
  • Meaningful Rename: Many of the characters sport new Champion titles (and one another's surnames) reflecting their Character Development throughout the past year.
  • Mentor Occupational Hazard: Wise Team Dad Ardyn is murdered in Week 5.
  • Metaphorgotten: Yurika when she tries to explain being nice to Xander.
    "You're our enemy, and you're a jerk sometimes, but I just can't bring myself to hate you. I suppose it's like Aquamarine in Gekiganger III, except without the romance subplot, because that's just wrong, and we're the ones with amnesia instead of you, so it's really nothing like that, is it?"
  • Mercy Kill: E.P. claims that this was her real reason to kill Xander, rather than what he assumed.
  • Moral Myopia: Explored with the question of whether it's right to forgive culprits who acted entirely selfishly because they're the characters' loved ones, or on the flip side, whether it's right to condemn them even if their captors pushed them to that point and the motives were something anyone might act on because they killed the characters' loved ones. Church especially is tormented by this and even suggests leaving Rad and Bur rather than trying to rescue them because he wants to put his own people first.
  • Murder Tropes
  • Mysterious Protector: Lady Consequence sends anonymous messages to the Champions to help them.
  • Neck Lift: In the final investigation fight, P.A.L. 7.0 lifts Church by the neck and throws him.
  • Necromantic: Not only is this Xander's motive for being an Overseer, the second incentive is also a hostage motive with a touch of "we'll bring your loved one back from the dead if you succeed, if necessary."
  • Never Learned to Read: Subverted. Cleric seems to be illiterate in his hardlight disguise, but that's just because he wasn't actually looking at the paper — his hardlight disguise has his head further up.
  • "No. Just... No" Reaction: Nari when she sees Church running around acting Not Right in the Bed.
  • Non-Nude Bathing: After the first memory regain, Junpei has a Heroic B.S.O.D. and takes a long Shower of Angst without actually stripping.
  • No Place for Me There: The real reason Max (the dead one) has been awkward and pessimistic about the prospect of rescue. He fears that his friends will leave him alone again and that his invitation to live with Bolton and Jamie in Portland can't be open anymore because he's not the same person he was when he died, so it's better if they're never rescued. Once they realize this, the dead assert that he's still their important friend and he still belongs, and Bolton and Jamie insist that he's still invited to stay with them.
  • Not Quite Dead: C.E.C.E. survived the glasses she was in being broken and went undercover as S.I.S.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Nobody expected the likes of E.P. to be simple to defeat, but she and her followers are pulling out every stop they can and keeping the Airlocked trend of Serial Escalation alive. Every Game Changer the heroes get is dealt with quickly, every Hope Bringer executed in front of them with a message that their work was All for Nothing, and every little thing that encourages the Champions to stand together and hope for escape is exposed and corrupted into a motive to kill. After all, they are dealing with Champions who have escaped their grasp before.
  • Numerological Motif: Noctis, the 114th king and the player character of the 15th separate mainline game of his series, dies at 1:14 with 15 stab wounds.
  • One of Us: For the In-Universe fandom—apparently, the Empress of Earth is an Airlocked! fan.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Ardyn's attitude towards Xander, to the point of making efforts to keep him alive just so Ardyn can have the satisfaction of killing Xander himself.
  • Oven Logic: Yurika ruins a pizza this way.
  • Pair the Suitors: A few weeks after their mutual love interest is murdered, Arianna and Fukawa end up together.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Ardyn does this a lot with Xander, who occasionally snipes back (for example, calling Ardyn "Your Highness" to emphasize that he wasn't considered a proper king back home and thus wouldn't get "Majesty"). Yurika tends to be PA with people who tick her off, too.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Church's reaction to Yuuri's various threats towards Tucker, who gleefully continues to hit on her, in the ending log.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": E.P.'s computer password in the final investigation is "Rainbow," Cece's girlfriend's nickname for her. This, plus her having Cece's belongings and an emotional stake in her well-being, indicates that E.P. is actually Cece. Arianna also admits that "Rii-san" is her Ramblr password.
  • Patchwork Map: The final form of deadland is a collision of all the places that make the dead feel safe and at home.
  • Pet the Dog: Xander shows kindness to the Champions on occasion, though it backfires in some cases, like trying to spare Yuuri's feelings with Exact Words only to have to negate that with the next week's motives. Nina of all people does it too; while she did steal Luscinia, Ardyn's pet bird, she spoils that bird happily, and she actually seems to be nice to Xander and Church when she meets them... just before backstabbing them, of course, but it's the Big Bad.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Averted. While the Flavourtown pirates do get the sympathetic viewpoint, it's made clear in the climax that they're pirates, and unlike the Round 3 survivor pool, who chose to focus only on InterGal 7 (that is, people who were already trying to kill them), Blaze Dudely's crew picked fights with anyone who looked like they had money to spare in order to keep themselves afloat. They ended up trapped by the network because they tried to raid them but lost the fight.
  • Playboy Bunny: Clarith assumes that the bunny suit Yurika got out of the prize machine is this. Instead, it's the doofy full-body bunny suit she wore at the end of Round 1.
  • Potty Emergency: Discussed at the introduction of the night patrol robots.
  • The Power of Love: Discussed as a possible reason for Jane being able to revive Xander, though we get an actual explanation soon.
  • Precision F-Strike: Xander gives a quiet one when Ardyn snaps at him and finally acknowledges Church as his Shield while cornering Xander on the nature of his superiors.
  • Production Throwback: The final round of Airlocked introduces night patrol robots that weren't in the other rounds. Sounds a little like the final main-story round of the two living-side mods' last brainchild.
  • Real Men Hate Sugar: Yurika sees Ardyn reluctant to be seen sneaking chocolate and concludes that he's embarrassed to be eating sweets because it isn't manly.
  • Red Herring Mole: Togami's sneaking around, making excuses, and tinkering with machines was actually to spy on Xander. However, Varric mistakes him for a mole and kills him.
  • Reset Button Suicide Mission: The Doctor's motive for killing Clarith. If he succeeded, he'd set off one of these and undo the entire game.
  • Retcon: The Final Fantasy XV cast (mostly Ardyn) officially retcons much of the fanon and headcanon used in rounds 2-4 that was contradicted in DLC and side material released later. For example, Original Character Vandeae Leonis is replaced with an established character in backstory, and, as briefly theorized from Episode Ignis, Ardyn's brother performed a Twin Switch.
  • Ret Gone: The motive for Week 8 is making it so that it'll be like the remaining Champions were never even born in their home universes if they don't kill.
  • Running Gag:
    • Arianna always finding some reason not to enter a vote for the correct culprit, either refusing (sometimes intentionally voting wrong in protest) or needing someone else to do it for her.
    • Church mangling Japanese names, even simple ones, and saying "Gesundheit" when people refer to the gacha machine by name.
  • Scars Are Forever: Everyone has any scars they gained in previous rounds as well as from canon, including canon deaths. Averted with the injuries Nari and Church sustain after their attempt on the door and subsequent punishment; scars gained in a virtual reality simulation obviously won't stick with their real bodies.
  • Screw Destiny: Ardyn's speech in the finale.
    "It doesn't matter if a conclusion is already written, fate can and should be defied."
  • Second Love: After the disaster that was Zombina's one-sided feelings for Osomatsu and her Rejected Apology to him back in round 4, she finally gets over it and starts dating Oda. A number of the living pairings are this, too, but usually don't replace the first love (except for Funyarii-san and Chardyn, which were already this for Junpei and Church, respectively).
  • Series Fauxnale: A little over halfway through, the simulation breaks and the Champions wake up in a spaceport with new allies in the real world. Seems just like the end of Round 1, right? Nope, they have no escape and have to continue the game there.
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: Nari uses her hardlight projector to turn into Noctis's father Regis while he's vulnerable so she can put him into shock enough to kill him.
  • Ship Sinking: Nari's actions once she remembers her relationship with Cece and her comments in 5-7 that she's moved on ensure that they're not getting back together. Double subverted. When Nari returns, she confesses that she really does still care about Cece and that what she said was part of a Zero-Approval Gambit to make people vote for her. However, when Cece turns out to be the mastermind, Nari tells her it can't work out between them anymore.
  • Shower of Angst: Touko walks in on Clarith during one, seeing the scars from her torture. Later, Junpei has a breakdown and showers clothed.
  • Showing Off the New Body: Church does this twice, once downplayed at the beginning as he wonders which attractive rando he's possessing and once when he's around Kip's PAK and it makes him start acting like Kip and dressing in a too-tight pilot suit.
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: During a confused shouting session about what the nature of their relationship is, Ardyn impulsively kisses Church to see if it'll trigger their Wistful Amnesia.
  • Slave Liberation: Scraggly tells the origin of Flavourtown: refugees from Earth escaping the Dick Elders found Foodcourtia-2 (explaining why Kip always called Flavourtown that), were forced to work serving fast food, but persevered and drove the Irken population off the planet.
  • Small Reference Pools: Choromatsu, thinking that Xander has a Healing Factor, demands to know if he's like Wolverine. Xander, not being from a modern Earth, thinks he's talking about the animal.
  • Splash of Colour: In deadland's final form, the Matsuno brothers' home and neighbourhood are in black and white except for their backyard.
  • Standard Status Effects: Week 5 gives all kinds of them as sabotages, from standards like Slow, Haste, and Mute to odd ones like Chicken, Toad, and Sing.
  • Stealth Pun: E.P. is a shapeshifter who's had different relationships with the Champions in different identities, including one that got very close to them and dated one. She's also a Plant Person. Put them together. She's a plant.
  • Take a Third Option: The survivors and the dead aim for this when Nina offers two lesser options in the final trial.
  • Taking the Bullet: Though he lives through it, Ardyn jumps in front of a knife for Varric so Touko won't be executed in his place.
  • Teleportation Misfire: In Week 7, Xander comes into possession of a warp cube that appears to be able to teleport him at random. He uses it in self-defence when Church tries to murder him, sending them both off the concourse and out of the range of the cameras.
  • There Was a Door: When P.A.L. 7.0 ambushes the Red Team final investigation, he makes his entrance by punching out a wall.
  • The Theme Park Version: InterGal 7 is cruel enough to mockingly make an over-the-top themed restaurant based on Flavourtown. You know, the planet they were involved in killing off only to press the survivors into servitude?
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Ardyn at the second motive. It's even described as such.
  • Three-Point Landing: P.A.L. 7.0 lands like this when he jumps down the elevator shaft to ambush Red Team.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: It works with scissors, too, as the Touko vs P.A.L. fight proves.
  • Took a Level in Idealism: After taking several levels in cynic, Junpei and Church start to find their light again when they connect with Yuuri and Ardyn through the TV in the mall.
    Junpei: At some point, doubting everything just gets in the way of getting shit done, Church.
  • Toyless Toy Line Character: Discussed in brackets that call out Jane's canon merch or lack thereof. While she has tons of merchandise in the Airlocked universe, in real life, she has much less than the other main characters and even some side characters, and most just relate to her aspect or land.
  • Tragic Villain: Most to all of the culprits end up being treated this way, especially the ones who killed intentionally; what they did was awful, but it's InterGal 7 who manipulated them and pushed them to it. Especially shown in the seventh trial.
  • Trauma Conga Line: The heightened stakes of a final round combined with the camaraderie and sympathy of Round 2 means that every other day is someone's Despair Event Horizon. Actually invoked, as InterGal 7 knows well that these people have escaped them before, and when hope starts to lift people out of their funk, they throw in more twists to break the Champions further.
  • True Companions: The round's overarching story is that of individuals splitting into three groups of connected True Companions and then, finally, forging one group instead of three split ones, finally overcoming the divisions that plagued them in the intermissions.
  • Unexpected Character: Players thought the survivors who hadn't been apped to the round would just be handwaved out. Then Week 5 gave a motive of executing them one by one until someone died.
  • The Unmasqued World: In the end, the survivors choose to reveal publicly that Airlocked! is real. Many of them try to let the fans down gently, understanding that they were misled and seeing their love and dedication to what they thought was a fictional story, though Church brings up that they have a good reason to just spite the whole thing.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Manaka, who was Nina's inspiration for hosting a Deadly Game. Odd that Manaka would be this for once instead of knowingly trying to kill everyone, but she did that too, so.
  • Valentine's Day Episode: When Fukawa finds out it's Valentine's Day, she throws a party, setting everyone up on reluctant dates. Even Genocider helps out... albeit by making a life-sized statue of Togami out of chocolate and setting it up in the food court.
  • Villain Ball: Discussed. This round often brings up comments, especially once the characters are finally able to remember the truth, that the network is putting in untold resources and technology the rest of their universe hasn't come close to perfecting, and that even a Cash Cow Franchise like Airlocked! can't be worth the trouble. This brings up theories that maybe the Immoral Reality Show is just a means to an end rather than done for profit's sake.
  • Villainous Legacy: Blaze Dudely is dead twice over, but his Tragic Villain past and the story of his home turn out to be very important to Round 5 and to the overall series lore.
  • Vote Early, Vote Often: Kip gets himself pulled from voting in the deadland election for ballot stuffing in Ardyn's favour.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Nari's reaction when she discovers that she's been Dating Catwoman.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: Togami says he misses the "ornery" Ninth Doctor when Ten starts to annoy him too much.
  • Wham Episode: The Valentine's Day Episode reveals that Xander doesn't remember Lightning and has the same Wistful Amnesia moments the others are getting. In the same conversation, Ardyn also figures out that Xander is a prince, which he confirms, and which Jane and Arianna find shocking.
    • So many major plot twists happen during Week 5 that it could be considered an entire Wham Arc.
      • First, Monday has the characters discovering that Xander is the Champion Mystery not via an event flag but via a normal character regain dropping from the machine.
      • The same day, Church finds none other than Rox Petuu (sadly not dead) inside the bar.
      • The Champions watch the execution of Will Graham on Tuesday, with the threat of the other captured survivors being executed every day serving as their motive for the week.
      • With no Champions dead by Wednesday, the showrunners claim Queenie as their next victim.
      • Thursday sees the reveal of Lady Consequence's true identities: CECE and Jamie Fell, who get killed for the motive as well.
      • On Friday, with Xander out of commission, P.A.L. replaces him. Given what we know about him, that shouldn't be possible.
      • The week closes out on Saturday, where at the very end of the trial, the Doctor breaks the simulation at his execution and the Champions find themselves in a brand new setting.
    • Near the end of the game, Arianna tries to go back to the simulated mall. Instead, she ends up in a simulation of Flavourtown, which is breaking down and being devoured by a massive void, and which Word of God swiftly confirms was deadland.
  • Wistful Amnesia: Happens frequently to the Champions during the first two weeks, before anyone has regained any memories of the previous rounds and therefore, each other.
  • Write Who You Know: An in-universe example. Cece Diver's stories about her father, an aquatic alien scientist dedicated to his groundbreaking research and his daughter's well-being, turn out to be inspired by Nina's friendship with Yl'lb Ein before her greed and ambition ruined it.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The Doctor kills because he's got a plan for if he wins (undo all the killing shows with time travel) and for if he loses (break the simulation open from the inside as he did in Round 1).
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Nari believes she was only gone for an hour when she appears after days of being presumed dead.
  • You Are Not Alone: Jane tells Arianna this in the fifth investigation to encourage her and keep her from feeling pressured to be someone she's not to fill the void the dead have left.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The network does this to Xander, killing him, and to Price, abandoning him, at the end of Week 5. Church threatens to kill Price once he's no longer useful to the Champions for his role in Church's backstory.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Touko, calling back on her experience with fighting killer robots, steps out to fight P.A.L. and tells the others to go.
  • Zalgo: Used as PAL is trying and failing to fight back against his upgrade.
    I can't remember’@ÚÒææ\\\@îÐÞ@ŒäÒÊÜÈæ@’@ÈÞÜNè@îÂÜè@èÞ@Ðêäè@ÂÜòÞÜ

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